Ambo model too rad­i­cal

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION - Matthew Dal­las, Ed­i­tor

The ar­chi­tects of the pro­posal to re­place Kenepuru’s overnight ac­ci­dent and med­i­cal ser­vice with paramedics seem to have a lot of faith in the model, but I won­der if they’re un­der­es­ti­mat­ing the faith peo­ple put in doc­tors and nurses.

Key users of the af­ter-hours ser­vice at Kenepuru be­tween 10pm and 8am would have to be par­ents with sick kids and I strug­gle to see these fam­i­lies sit­ting at home wait­ing for a visit from a para­medic who could be some dis­tance away or di­verted to a more ur­gent call-out. No dis­re­spect to the skills of paramedics. But these are our kids and if we’re wor­ried about them enough to seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion in the wee hours, we want them to see a doc­tor.

And while we’re wait­ing, should their con­di­tion de­te­ri­o­rate, we want to know help is close at hand.

The death of Welling­ton 12-year-old Amanda Crook-Barker last week from meningo­coc­cal dis­ease was ev­ery par­ent’s worst night­mare. Rash at 3pm, dead by 5pm.

It is cases like these that flood par­ents’ minds when their child wakes at night with a rag­ing tem­per­a­ture, un­usual rash or com­plaint of sore­ness.

Healthline is of­ten the first port of call and a trip to af­ter-hours is rou­tinely their ad­vice if par­ents don’t feel com­fort­able wait­ing un­til the morn­ing.

Un­der the pro­posed model, Healthline would in­stead pass on call­ers to a para­medic for an over­the-phone as­sess­ment and sched­uled house call. Would this suf­fice? Are you con­fi­dent of ac­cu­rately de­scrib­ing over the phone your child’s rash or the way they’re breath­ing?

Can you trust the para­medic to ask the right ques­tions?

Are you con­tent to wait for an am­bu­lance that may get di­verted to an emer­gency or a call-out pri­ori­tised higher than yours?

Or, would you just drive to Welling­ton Ac­ci­dent and Emer­gency, by­pass­ing the ‘‘rov­ing paramedics’’ in favour of the cer­tainty of a real triage, a real wait­ing room and real doc­tors?

Though any­one who’s en­dured time-con­sump­tion Welling­ton A&E-style will know this is hardly a short cut.

I ap­pre­ci­ate that when de­vis­ing the most ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient pro­vi­sion of pri­mary health­care, parental peace of mind isn’t the top ob­jec­tive but mums and dads will en­dure sleep-de­prived latenight drives and lengthy waits in triage to get it.

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